After my speech in the Commons on justice for England BBC Scotland wanted me to give interviews. There was as always no call from BBC England.
I agreed to do a radio interview for BBC Scotland yesterday morning. The wish was to debate the SNP false allegations of second class MPs and possible damage to Scotland and the Union. Understandably there was no interest in whether these proposals help England enough or are fair to England.
In England Radio Berkshire asked to interview me. They too took the SNP agenda and sought to confine the interview to the issues of so called second class MPs and alleged damage to the Union. They did not ask a single question about how it might help Berkshire. They did not ask if it gave enough power to England. They did not ask how we might want to use the power. They did not grasp that the settlement of the money is going to be a crucial issue which is only partially dealt with by Thursday’s vote.
If the BBC wishes to pose as broadcaster for the whole Union of the UK it has got to learn the lines of the English as well as the Scottish. It needs to probe and ask questions from an English point of view as well as from a Scottish point of view. It needs to be voice for England and to offer us some English coverage. We need a BBC England.
Labour made the situation worse by their behaviour in the Commons on Thursday. Few Labour MPs came in for the debate. Their response was led by a Welsh MP, with Welsh MPs more prominent than English on their sparsely populated benches. Their threadbare arguments were similar to the SNP, complaining about second class MPs and an alleged inability of the Speaker to read whether a bill or spending item related to the UK or just to some part of it.
Labour failed to speak for England. Most of Labour’s English MPs were notable by their absence. They allowed a debate on England to become more a debate about Scotland. Again there was no BBC England to ask them why they don’t care about the injustice of devolution to England, or to prise out of them a policy on how England should in future be looked after on our fast changing constitution.